COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Eric Rashun Jones, a/k/a “E Dolla,” a/k/a “E,” 31, of Newberry, has pleaded guilty to Human Trafficking Conspiracy, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition, and Witness Tampering.
As to the Human Trafficking Conspiracy conviction, evidence presented in court showed that from August 2018 through November 2022, Jones worked together with at least one other person to prostitute women in the commercial sex trade by force, fraud, and coercion. He did so by physical violence: Jones broke one victim’s orbital socket and burst her ear drum; he hit another victim regularly with a closed fist. Videos recovered by FBI showed Jones directing the physical assault of women who worked for him. He also forced women to engage in sexual acts with him and others. Jones also exploited the drug addictions of victims, including by withholding the fentanyl one victim was dependent on as punishment and by paying others for commercial sex with the drugs they were dependent on. He also threatened to kill one victim and her family. Further, Jones exercised high levels of control: he managed online advertisements for the commercial sex, he controlled when and where women would work, and he determined whether and how proceeds would be divided.
As to the Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition conviction, evidence presented in court showed that Lexington County 911 received a call on June 25, 2019, from a victim who told law enforcement that Jones had forced her into prostitution, that he had confiscated proceeds, and that he had stolen her phone, money, and pistol. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department responded and found Jones in a hotel room with two women, one of whom was partially undressed. Inside the hotel room was a Springfield 9mm handgun loaded with 6 rounds. Jones admitted to hiding the firearm under the mattress. At the time, federal law prohibited Jones from firearm possession as a result of prior felony convictions, including for Strong Arm Robbery, Common Law Robbery, and Assault & Battery 1st Degree.
As to the Witness Tampering conviction, evidence presented in court showed that between August and November 2022, while in federal custody, Jones called a woman involved with him in commercial sex and told her on a recorded jail call to “say nothing at all” to federal law enforcement, to “never say nothing,” to “tell those mother f***ers you know nothing,” and to “f*** the police, the police aint your family.” Separately, over a five-day span, Jones called that victim 40 times. Jones also told her he has “a third eye on the street,” and in a prior hearing it was alleged that Jones was a member of a street gang.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, Jones agreed to pay victims restitution and to register as a sex offender. He also agreed to forfeit jewelry, U.S. currency, a firearm, and electronics used or purchased with proceeds of criminal conduct. Jones faces a maximum penalty of Life in prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000 and Lifetime supervision to follow a term of imprisonment.
United States District Judge Sherri A. Lydon accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Jones after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Greenville Police Department, Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Simpsonville Police Department, and Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliott B. Daniels and Elle E. Klein are prosecuting the case.
Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Brook.Andrews@usdoj.gov, 803-929-3000